What do you do when you decide to make macarons at 1am and then realise you can't find your piping bag or icing nozzles for love nor money? You throw them onto baking sheets and when they come out six times the size of actual macarons and a little bit weird looking, you call them whoopie pie macarons, hope you're not being completely insulting to the French and pat yourself on the back for being rlly, rlly clever. Also, it means you don't even need an excuse to eat six macarons, you just get to eat one massive one and no one can question it. And do you know what? This was the second time I've made macarons (the first time was an unmitigated disaster!) and I don't think they came out all that badly, and they've been hoovered up at work pretty quickly. I didn't fancy this week's bakealong (again!) because batter is not my thing!
I used this recipe, which I'll be bookmarking because the instructions are some of the most simple I've seen when it comes to making macarons. However, there were a few changes I made because I found that the ganache needed a few changes, and I also added a small amount of hazelnut liquer to give it a little bit of an alcoholic nutty kick.
- 4 egg whites
- 75g caster sugar
- 225g icing sugar
- 115g ground almonds
- 1 tbsp instant coffee (for macarons)
- 1 tbsp instant coffee (for filling)
- a pinch of salt
- 150g dark chocolate
- 125ml double/whipping cream
- 1 tbsp frangelico
Preheat oven to 150° Celsius. Separate your egg whites into a mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar and whisk with a mixer until stiff peaks form.
Whizz the icing sugar, ground almonds, one tablespoon of instant coffee, and a pinch of salt in a food blender to make sure there are no lumps. I always buy my ground almonds from Marks and Spencer because I think they come pretty clump free, and are also pretty affordable.
Mix everything from the food processor into the egg whites and sugar mixture until everything is fully combined. The mixture should be smooth.
Line two baking sheets with non-stick paper. Then, using a piping bag and a round nozzle, pipe circles onto the tray. Once complete, firmly rap your baking tray on a hard surface a few times (I completely forgot to do this, which is why mine are a little cracked. My only excuse is that it was 1am!). Place into the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. They should come off the tray easily when ready. Leave them to cool on a cooling rack.
Break your chocolate up into small pieces and leave in a small bowl. Heat your cream in a saucepan and once warm but not boiling, stir in your remaining tablespoon of instant coffee and pour over your chocolate. Stir until the mixture has thickened and all the chocolate has melted. Then add the frangelico and stir in. Once finished, spoon onto half of your macaron shells and sandwich the other halves on top.
And there we have it! Next time - lessons include making sure I rap the bloody things and trying to find my icing nozzle to get proper circles!
LEFT TO RIGHT:
light grey jumper | dark grey jumper | studded flats | long top | white ribbed jumper | leopard clutch | green top | leather skirt | navy ribbed jumper | pointed flats | light grey jumper | striped top | shopper
I should probably start by saying that Autumn is one of my favourite seasons and I am desperate for it to properly kick in. As someone who tends to find themselves loving the average, I hate the heat and I hate extreme cold, so Spring and Autumn are perfect for me. I'm a bit of an old granny, and love the fact that I can wear a coat and don't have to rifle through my bag to find my Oyster card and can have it stuffed inside a pocket instead. I love tights and socks and love the fact that they all hide a multitude of sins.
This weekend I have a massive wardrobe overhaul planned. I don't have a massive bedroom, and my small wardrobe is so packed I'm having to throw things inside and slam the door shut and hope it doesn't all cascade out when I next open it. I have to get so much stuff put on eBay, and then I pretty much plan to fill it all again with easy to wear, affordable but good quality basics. This year I am determined not to fill my wardrobe with Primark jumpers that never fit me properly and always fall apart after the first wash.
This navy jumper and this white jumper from H&M look perfect for slouchy days at work, when it's a bit chilly. I don't have a particularly smart workplace, and I could easily wear them outside of work too. Leather skirts are so easy to dress up and down, and I don't think there's a way that you can make them look bad. They seem to work with most outfits, but I think they'd look especially great with the striped top from my new favourite store, & Other Stories, or this dark grey marl woollen jumper from H&M.
Shoes are my winter weak spot. I'm really not a fan of wearing boots, and have been known to wear flats even in the snow. These Next flats are one of my staple wardrobe items, they always look great, and I fell in love with these Dune flats whilst out shopping last weekend.
What are you after this Autumn? Also, if you have any suggestions for any other places to grab affordable basics from, that'd be great!
I went to Bournemouth so long ago I can barely believe I'm only blogging about it now. Admittedly, going to Bournemouth in January wasn't my smartest move, but I think we were quite lucky with the weather considering. At least we were still able to get onto the beach and we weren't rained on (too much). We planned the trip to keep the spirits up after the Christmas break - you know that feeling you get when you're like, oh god, I really do have to do another year of this. And so a weekend away was booked, anywhere, preferably near the sea.
We stayed at the Royal Bath Hotel, which I won't recommend. The location was lovely, but it was so run down and if someone could have given me the money to do it up, I'd have been in there like a shot. It had so much potential. Instead it's tired and rickety and there's a Premier Inn practically over the road which I imagine is cheaper, nicer, and has a better view.
I'm at a bit of a loss to say what I did in Bournemouth, as realistically, I didn't do all that much and as a result I don't recommend visiting in January, as funnily enough, beaches in England tend to be more of a summer thing. We took a walk along the pier, had afternoon tea in a hotel and spent a long time laughing at the people zip wiring along the pier, and an even longer time getting colour coordinated photos of the wonderful beach huts that are all along the sea front. How pretty are they?
I think I'll have to spend some more time in Bournemouth soon, probably because sometimes it's just so good to get away from London and spend some time by the sea. Growing up in the Midlands seems to have instilled this ridiculous sense of it being such a novelty, even though I live closer to it than I ever have done before. Next time I'd stay in a better hotel too, and maybe try and get my hands on some fish and chips, because I feel I lacked in not doing that this time. Who goes to the sea side and doesn't get fish and chips with a 99?! Ooops.
I've wanted to make doughnuts for quite some time but have always been put off by the fact that they require deep frying. I don't own a deep fat fryer, and haven't had access to one since I lived in Holland and they were everywhere. I'm also not the kind of person to be trusted near a massive saucepan of oil, I think my neighbours would never forgive me if I tried and burned down the block. I didn't realise you could bake doughnuts until I stumbled across a recipe for one, and as I didn't fancy taking part in this week's bakealong because I'm not a fan of making bread, this seemed like a relatively good alternative. The next best thing about this recipe is that you can make them without a doughnut pan too - you don't need any specialist equipment at all. It's all really easy.
They can be a little unnerving when they come out of the oven because they look like bread rolls and I was really quite worried that they would taste like them too. Luckily looks are quite deceiving and they do taste like doughnuts! Getting the jam in was a little tricky too, but I managed to find a pumpkin cutter tool which was quite handy as a small knife for making a hole big enough to poke jam inside.
I used this recipe here, but didn't use the glaze and also didn't go through the pain of making my ring doughnuts. Instead, I iced mine for two reasons. One, I thought it was a good idea to make doughnuts past midnight on a Monday morning and two, I have a tendency to make things taste like the sea when something is "salted". This was all so much easier than I thought it would be, and they haven't turned out too badly, I definitely recommend giving them a go.
I've seen quite a few bloggers write their happy weekly lists and so even though this kind of thing isn't exactly something new, it's something I've decided to start doing, because it's nice to document the things which make your week good, and to try and get something positive down once in a while. Having said that, I'm still adding in the downs because I think they probably deserve to be documented too. Not every week can be fantastic!
Going away for a few days. I've started to moan about living in London and sometimes it just really gets to me, so getting away for a few days is always a big help and makes me slightly happier to get back to London. Plus, it helped that it was to a place I've always really loved.
Baking. I've been taking part in Bakealong and even though my attempts have been pretty terrible, I hadn't baked for quite a long time so it's been nice to get back into it. Even though it's also reminded me how much I'd quite like a bigger kitchen. And that it's also probably time to invest in a rolling pin...
Having a doctor that listens. I'm one of those people who tries not to go to the doctor after years of having an absolutely terrible GP down in Cardiff, but recently I've found one that basically listened to everything and tried to sort it all out. I'm finally taking PCOS seriously.
Cats not ads at Clapham Common station. I don't understand the world sometimes but it did cheer me up on a very wet Friday morning after my shoes had broken and I'd stepped in a puddle which didn't look as deep as it was.
Being on tablets which mess with the food I can or can't eat. It's making lunch choice options at the (five!) restaurants at work impossible, which is saying something.
Not being able to find jobs which I want to apply for. I've begun the search for a new job but I'm having difficulty finding anything to actually apply for, which is making the whole process a little more painful.
Being screamed at on the phone at work. I know when you have a job which involves speaking to members of the public it's always going to be a risk, but I can sometimes find it hard to not take it personally.